six word saturday – time to relax




After some very hectic weeks culminating in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, I am now in Cornwall for a week where I am hoping to enjoy some fishing, some walking (which will NOT involve hills), spending time with family and generally enjoying the local area.

The cartoon is quite apt for today (not that I am complaining…). :)




Happy Saturday!

This post is for Six Word Saturday.  Click over to  Show My Face for more sets of six words.

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge – the update

On Saturday I went, I saw, I partially conquered.  I only managed the first peak, and admired the other two from the safety of flat ground.  Saturday proved to me that I do not enjoy hill climbing and it will not be featuring much (if at all) in any of my future walks.  Perhaps it was the heat (one of the hottest days of the year in the area), perhaps it was the stony, rocky path we had to clamber up, perhaps it was the fact that my nose was running almost continuously and stopping to blow it was getting very tiresome, or perhaps it was just that I am not cut out for clambering up rocky hillsides, but one peak was more than enough for me.

All the time I was preparing for this challenge I kept telling myself that it was perfectly possible to complete, and the lack of enjoyment of climbing Mount Snowdon a few weeks ago was due to my fitness and the very wet weather.  After Snowdon I had considered pulling out of the Yorkshire challenge, but decided to increase my fitness level, do as much walking as possible and give it a go.  So, I am pleased that I didn’t pull out, but disappointed in a way that I didn’t complete it.  However, I feel I gave it my best shot and when I decided to call it a day after the first peak I knew I had made the right decision.  I will still go walking, because I enjoy that and can walk for miles and miles, but will stick to flat and slightly undulating ground with the odd small steep section!

We drove up to Yorkshire on Friday afternoon and checked in to the Ingleton Youth Hostel where we were staying for two nights.  Saturday morning was a very early start, with breakfast at 5.15 before reporting to the starting point at 6 a.m.  The sun was shining already and the forecast was for a hot day, with a slight breeze and the chance of some rain later in the afternoon.  Laden with waterproofs, hats, suncream, extra water, emergency equipment, snacks and a packed lunch, our group set off at 6.30, at a brisk pace, towards Ingleborough, the first of the three peaks in the challenge.  The incline was gentle to start with and the early morning misty sunshine was beautiful.  By 6.45 we had to stop to admire the view and remove a few layers of clothing …

early morning sunshine

The peak in the distance is Whernside, the second of the three peaks which form the challenge.

early morning sunshine on Ingleborough

I had to keep stopping for a drink, or to blow my nose, so took the opportunity to take another photo.

Getting a lot higher now

It was really quite hot by now, and we were only about an hour into the walk.  The main group of elite walkers, as I liked to think of them (the ones who were obviously mountain goats in previous lives!), were getting further and further ahead.  They stopped occasionally for the slowcoaches to catch up, but as soon as we did they were off again – they had a 12 hour deadline to meet!

looking down from the side of Ingleborough

Another hour of walking – the path was starting to get quite a bit trickier now, with lots of boulders and loose rocks to negotiate, and I was starting to think this activity was just not for me!  The thought of having to do this three times was not filling me with any kind of pleasure!  All my grit and determination was coming into play now as the incline got steeper.

nearly at the top of Ingleborough

The lead walkers in my group had disappeared over the top by now, and my nose blowing sessions were getting closer and closer and I was having to stop more and more to catch my breath.  However… finally… two hours and twenty minutes after setting off from starting point, I reached the summit!  Ta da!

the trig point on the summit of Ingleborough

As soon as I was at the top, I recovered my breath, had more water and snacks, had a rest with the other slower walkers and ten minutes later was ready for the challenging scramble down some very steep rocky ‘steps’ and the walk towards the first check point.

descending Ingleborough

Coming down hills is often the most difficult part for some people, but I find it very much easier than going up.  As I was walking down I made my decision to call it a day and be pleased that I had managed to complete one of the peaks.  My plan was to go back to the car, leave my rucksack and go off and find the local cafe where I would have a drink and read the paper for a while, then perhaps drive off somewhere and see the area.  My plan was scuppered, though, by the fact that Mr Decisive had the car keys and when I got to the checkpoint, at 10 past 10, he had already set off for the next peak with the faster walkers!  Luckily the support team said it was no problem, I could wait with them until all the walkers had gone through the check point, and they would take me to the second checkpoint where I could wait with them for Mr D to arrive.  Two other people had dropped out at this point too, having decided that peak walking was not their thing either.

So that was the end of my challenge, and for the rest of the day I admired the views from the comfort of the support van, and dispensed water and flapjacks to the other 90 or so people who were part of our group.  It was so hot, and I have no idea how they managed to keep going.  Some more people stopped after the second peak, having given it their all, or because they were nursing injuries.  I am full of admiration for the people who completed the three peaks (and many did in within the 12 hours) – they don’t call it a ‘Challenge’ for nothing!




six word saturday – climbing hills


Today I am taking part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks* challenge and when you read this I will either have completed the first peak, be on my way to the second or third one, or maybe even finished it completely!  The aim is to complete it all in 12 hours, starting about 6.45 a.m.  Some people can complete it in 9 hours, I believe, but I don’t think I will be one of them!

* Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough

Here’s some Snoopy to make you smile…

snoopy woodstock mountain

Happy Saturday!

This post is for Six Word Saturday.  Click over to  Show My Face for more sets of six words.

walking The Ridgeway from Tring Station to Wendover

Keeping up the preparations for our Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge (next Saturday!) we went, last weekend, to walk part of The Ridgeway.

The Ridgeway is thought to be Britain’s oldest road, following the route used since prehistoric times by travellers, soldiers and herdsmen. It is 87 miles (139 km) long and runs from Avebury in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

Ridgeway finger post

We joined it near one end, at Tring Station, and walked the 8 miles to the small town of Wendover.  The weather was dull, but dry, when we left the house, however by the time we parked at Tring Station it was raining.  The forecast had said ‘showers’, which suggests to me that short periods of rain would be interspersed with dry bright spells, but this ‘shower’ lasted for almost the whole walk.  The photos I took don’t do justice to the views over the Chilterns, sadly.  If you could just imagine them with blue skies and sunshine, they will be much better.  :)

Our walk started beside some fields and through some woodland, climbing steadily, until we came to a foot bridge built specially to carry The Ridgeway over the A41.

DSCF7204 (800x600)  The gentle climb continued and the views of the Chilterns and the Vale of Aylesbury were wide and sweeping (and would have been wider and more sweeping without the rain!).  A freight train was travelling north from London – you can just see the coloured containers in the centre of the photo -

mainline goods train

We walked along the edges of cornfields -

cornfield and view

Through some more woodland and then we were in Tring Park.  Tring Park is part of the estate which belonged to the Rothschilds, a well known international banking family, from 1872.  In addition to the lovely house (now a School for the Performing Arts) there were beautiful gardens and carriage drives and a large collection of  animals.  Emus, rheas, zebras and kangaroos roamed the parkland and in a specially built Zoological Museum there were many stuffed animals.  Sadly all that has gone now (the stuffed animals form part of the collections of the Natural History Museum), but the Woodland Trust is trying to restore some of the woodland and drives back to their former glory.  Trees have been cleared so that the view can be admired again and a lovely wooden bench has been installed so that you can sit and enjoy it (preferably on a sunny day rather than our damp day).

view to Tring Park

wooden bench

owl carving

We walked on through steep treelined paths

steep woodland path

..before coming out, into sunshine, near this lovely church in Wendover.

St Mary's Church Wendover

You can see how wet the ground had been by the steam rising off the road!

steam rising

The lychgate is lovely


We walked into Wendover town, past the clock tower

Wendover clock tower

and then a short distance to a Chocolaterie, where we ordered cake and drinks.  I had a mocha drink (can’t go into a Chocolaterie and not have something chocolatey!) and this rather delicious walnut and coffee cake with raspberry coulis, which I think I deserved after my walk.

walnut and coffee cake

Another time I would like to walk more of The Ridgeway, hopefully on a brighter day when the views will be better.


Friday letters – the 4th of July edition

Dear days of the week, I know this is controversial, but could you please arrange to either last longer (25 hours rather than the usual 24), or introduce a new one?  I have requested an extra month during the summer holidays, but the odd extra day in the week would really help to get things done!  Not every week, though – an extra day during a tough working week wouldn’t be very welcome!

Dear foxes in my garden, Please stop digging it up, and please stop your noisy night-time antics.  Also, please stop bringing in rubbish/trash from other peoples’ bins and leaving it lying around.

Dear weather gods, Thank you for this current spell of warm sunny weather – we are enjoying it very much.

Dear designers of new school buildings, I would like to suggest that you come and spend a day working in a small classroom with thirty children on a warm, sunny day.  Hopefully you would realise that the design of your rooms is woefully inadequate and the windows do not open sufficiently wide to get a decent breeze.

Dear fellow bloggers, I’ve been very lax recently in reading and commenting but I am hopeful that next week I might have more time.

Dear American friends, Happy 4th of July!